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NFL: NOV 27 Broncos at Panthers

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The Carolina Panthers enter the 2023 season with the hopes of competing for a NFC South division title, as they seek to end the second-longest playoff drought in franchise history. The franchise underwent a major makeover after they fired Matt Rhule last October, hiring Frank Reich, the first offensive-minded head coach in team history. With all the moves made on that side of the football, drafting Bryce Young #1 overall, and bringing in great assistants like Josh McCown, and Thomas Brown, it’s the defense that gives Carolina a chance to play meaningful football into January.

Brian Burns is a Pro Bowl pass rusher, who is going to receive a major contract in the near future. Shaq Thompson, while he might not be the linebackers from the past like Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, but he is adequate and is a leader on the defense. If Jaycee Horn can stay healthy, he has All-pro potential at the cornerback position, giving Carolina three difference makers at all three levels of their defense.

The biggest question that currently exists on the defense, is who is going to be the pass rusher opposite Burns, to help him pressure the quarterback. Carolina has plenty of time and opportunity to address that need and has opted not to so far, leading you to believe that they are comfortable with the guys they have on the roster currently. A big reason for that to be the case is Frankie Luvu, who shined under Matt Rhule, and has caught the attention of Frank Reich, enough for Reich to call him the “steal of the century”. Luvu totaled over 100 tackles last year, to go along with 7 sacks, an interception, and a defensive score. He did that while playing in schemes designed by Phil Snow. and Al Holcomb, both got exposed at different times last season. Enter Ejero Evero, a defensive mastermind that will soon be a head coach in the NFL, and Luvu is ready to take the league by storm. His 7 sacks and 19 tackles for loss indicate he’s very capable of being that consistent pass rusher opposite Burns, and his ability to make plays in the game makes him a versatile defender while dropping back into coverage. Eveo should have plenty of fun this season, trying to find new ways to put Luvu in a position to make plays, and he might be the catalyst for a defense that is looking to take that step.